It may be autumn, but we’ve been sweltering in temperatures in the 30’s to 40’s (86’F- 104’F) for days on end with little respite. At work, we eat a meal of soup together every Wednesday as an excuse to chat and share. We’ve even organised a roster to lighten to load, and we try to make a variety of soups. Several weeks ago, when it came my turn, I didn’t fancy a warm soup as the weather was predicted to be yet again in the high 30’s, so I thought a cold gazpacho would do the trick.
Since watermelon was cheap, and cherry tomatoes were abundant in our wee backyard garden, I thought the two would taste delicious together. I discussed flavour combos with my daughter who advised lime, coriander and ginger would be best, and so my watermelon gazpacho soup idea came to be. Unsure which method to follow, I tried two: a total puree that turned puke green that was a disaster in look and taste, and a chopped vegetable version with puree watermelon that was delish. I took my soup to work, wondering what the reaction of my workmates would be… They loved the freshness, the flavour and that it tasted “so healthy.” One advised to give an option of the amount of ginger used, hence I’ve said to use according to your taste. So, it was a success. If you live in the northern hemisphere, I hope you can enjoy the gazpacho when watermelons appear. For us in the south, we’re to ‘enjoy’ the El Nino until the end of May, so we’ve been told, and cold soups could possibly be enjoyed for a longer period than normal. In retrospect, I think the reason for the successful flavour of my gazpacho was the sun-ripened sweetness of the homegrown cherry tomatoes. Hopefully you too can enjoy.
· Despite popular belief that watermelon is made up of only water and sugar, watermelon is a nutrient dense food that provides a high amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for a low amount of calories.
· Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that gives fruits and vegetables a pink or red colour, and compared to a large fresh tomato, one cup of watermelon has 1.5 times the lycopene.
· Watermelon is a part vegetable and part fruit and is related to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash. Also, the rind is entirely edible, and can be blitzed in a blender with lime for a refreshing treat. The rind contains blood-building chlorophyll, and has more amino acids (that protects against muscle pain) than the pink flesh, so it’s unwise to throw it in the waste.
5 cups of watermelon for puree
6 cups watermelon, diced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, diced
1 cup cucumber, diced
½ cup red capsicum, diced
¼ red onion, finely diced
½ cup coriander, chopped
1 lime, juice and zest
½ teaspoon garlic, minced
1-2 teaspoons ginger, minced, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
Blend 5 cups of watermelon until liquid. Pour into a glass bowl and set aside. Into another bowl, place the other ingredients and stir to combine. Adjust flavours to your personal taste, by adding extra lime juice, sat and pepper, onion and garlic. Spoon this mixture into the liquefied watermelon juice and stir to combine. Cover the bowl with cling wrap, and chill in the fridge overnight for the flavours to fuse and for the colour to become vibrant. Before serving, adjust flavours if necessary.